Those Left Behind


The Passion of Grace


The Dilemma of Desire


In The Game

Written and Directed by Maria Finitzo

THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE will explore why despite the real gains that came with the 60’s revolution, women still pay a price for wanting what men want— agency over their sexual desire and the freedom to act upon that desire.

Furthermore, young women who wish to be sexually active must do so while navigating a powerful patriarchy, that at times is outright misogynistic. And so even as we see mounting evidence that women want what men want, antiquated sexual scripts remain in place and women are caught, in a catch-22, a double bind, a quandary, a dilemma of desire.

Look and Feel


Synopsis – The Dilemma of Desire

THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE is a feature length documentary by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Maria Finitzo, produced in partnership with Kartemquin Films that will explore the complex nature of female sexual desire.

Part verite, part essay, sometimes funny, other times serious, a little unsettling and perhaps even edgy, THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE will take an approach that is not bound by outdated and mostly male generated ideas about what women want. Instead, the film will be a deep inquiry into the looking glass of Female Eros and the ways in which it is both governed, and fulfilled, by notions of expression and repression.

Key Creative Personnel

Key Creative Personnel – The Dilemma of Desire

Kartemquin Films

kartemquin-films-ktq-logoKartemquin sparks democracy through documentary. In 1966, Kartemquin Films began making documentaries that examine and critique society through the stories of real people. Kartemquin’s first film, Home For Life – a powerful chronicle of two elderly people entering a home for the aged that was called “extraordinarily moving” by Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times – established the direction the organization would take over the next four decades. With a record number of films currently in development and production, Kartemquin is poised to continue this legacy for years to come.

The organization has won every major critical and journalistic prize, including Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and an Oscar nomination. A proud recipient of one of eight international 2007 MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, Kartemquin has been described by the Chicago Reader as a “documentary powerhouse.” In 1997 The Chicago Film Critics Association gave Kartemquin their Big Shoulders Award for outstanding service to the film community and the world, and in 2010 Kartemquin was honored with the Altgeld Freedom of Speech Award for “unflinchingly holding up a mirror to American society.” Additional awards include the 2009 Ron Sable Award for Activism from the Crossroads Fund, a 2013 Media Pioneer Award from the Benton Foundation, and Community Media Workshop’s 2014 Studs Terkel Award. In 2014, the Riverrun Film Festival gave Kartemquin their “Master of Cinema” Award.

Maria Finitzo - President, FilmArts Productions - Bio Profile PictureDIRECTOR, Maria Finitzo

Maria Finitzo is a two-time Peabody Award-winning social issue documentary filmmaker. Over the last 26 years Maria has directed and produced a body of work that has won every major broadcast award and has been screened in festivals and theaters around the world. Her films are novelistic in their structure, providing multiple points of connection for an audience. She allows the narrative arc of her character’s story to evolve, colliding with other subjects from the film, creating a complex, nuanced story that serves as a vehicle to deepen our understanding of society through everyday human drama.

A coming of age story that reveals the resilience of adolescent girls (5 GIRLS); a father determined to heal his daughter after a tragic accident (MAPPING STEM CELL RESEARCH: TERRA INCOGNITA); a young man, alone in the world trying to find his way (WITH NO DIRECTION HOME); a soccer coach committed to teaching his players – Hispanic girls – about winning in life (IN THE GAME); and a young couple, both working minimum wage jobs struggling to make ends meet while building a life for themselves and their children (HARD EARNED) are all films that explore different realms of storytelling by investigating the important social issues of the day. Finitzo’s next documentary project is THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE, a film that will look at the complex nature of female sexual desire.

Finitzo’s films have tackled a variety of subjects from the controversial science of stem cell research and the complex questions surrounding the command and control of nuclear weapons to the psychology of adolescent girls, each film demonstrating a depth and breadth of knowledge and expertise. She is a long-time associate of the award-winning documentary company, Kartemquin Films, one of the oldest and most respected social issue documentary film companies in the country.

Finitzo is also a screenwriter and fiction film director. Her interest in fiction filmmaking is a natural evolution of her commitment to exploring different realms of storytelling. In 2014, she founded FILMARTS Productions, LLC, a Chicago-based production company dedicated to producing independent films. Her first feature, THOSE LEFT BEHIND, from her original screenplay is currently in distribution. FILMARTS has in development THE PASSION OF GRACE, an adaptation of the award-winning story PASSION by the Nobel Prize award-winning author, Alice Munro.

In June of 2008, Maria was awarded an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University. Maria is also an adjunct member of the faculty in Northwestern’s School of Communication teaching in the MFA in Documentary Studies.


PRODUCER, Diane Quon

diane-quon-bio-profile-picture-with-borderDiane worked in Los Angeles for over 17 years before returning to her hometown of Chicago. While in LA, Diane worked in advertising at NBC and in marketing at Paramount Pictures, last as Vice President of Marketing.  Diane is currently producing multiple upcoming films for documentary powerhouse, Kartemquin Films, including:   MINDING THE GAP (co-produced by ITVS and scheduled for POV 2018 broadcast);    LEFT-HANDED PIANIST (directed by Gordon Quinn); and THE DILEMMA OF DESIRE (directed by Peabody-winning filmmaker, Maria Finitzo).  In addition, Diane oversees the marketing and outreach for the Kartemquin documentaries UNBROKEN GLASS and IN THE GAME.    Her own short documentary, CLIFF, SUPRFAN!, began its festival run November 2016.  Diane joined Finitzo’s company, FilmArts Productions, in early 2016.



PRODUCER, Cynthia Kane

A former commissioning editor for documentary, Cynthia  helped transform the way global documentaries are seen on American television. She created DOCday on Sundance Channel in 2002, and shepherded over 150 international and U.S. co-productions for public media at ITVS. More recently, she helped launch Al Jazeera America and the Sunday night documentary strand, Al Jazeera America Presents with series (Kartemquin’s Hard Earned winner 2016 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards) and documentaries (Albert Maysles’ final work, In Transit, Leon Gast’s Sporting Dreams, Barbara Kopple’s Shelter, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor’s Daisy and Max, Michelle Shephard and Patrick Reed’s Guantanamo’s Child, Marc Levin’s Freeway: Crack in the System, the last two recently nominated for Emmy’s.)

With UK partners, gbgg productions (formed with Lisa Scott Gordon and John Warburton) and Les Film de l’Après Midi, Kane recently executive produced, New Eyes, a short narrative film by Ethiopian filmmaker Hiwot Admasu Getaneh which screened at the Venice, Toronto and Rotterdam Film Festivals.


Proposal – The Dilemma of Desire

Click to view or download the proposal for The Dilemma of Desire.